Gary MacLennan g.maclennan at
Mon Nov 29 21:50:14 MST 1999

Hi Gheb.

What can one say?  I live and work in Academia in Australia. A country
where the principle   danger for the white population is a slow death
through consumerism. My driving interests at present are philosophical.  I
am contemplating a piece on the negative dialectic that will take in
Kierkegaard and Heidegger.  I am interested in Kierkegaard because of his
madness.  Heidegger interests me too because he was such a repulsive
person, but despite that he strove for wisdom. I think somehow if I can
reconcile how both of these thinkers moved towards the mystical with the
enlightenment optimism of Roy Bhaskar then I will have forged a relevant
philosophy  at least on the personal level. I was given a push along with
this vague plan by seeing the film _Fight Club_.  It speaks wonders about
capitalist modernity.

What has all this to do with Africa?  Where one dines between massacres as
Brecht put it?  Nothing of course. I taught in Kano from 1968-71 but all
that would have changed beyond recognition. I recently marked a thesis from
a Botswana student and it was very interesting on media policy in his country.

However I must continue with my work even though it might strike you as
obscenely irrelevant. As for the people you mention - I know very little. I
heard of Mengitsu, of course, but thought nothing good of him.  If you post
on him I will read it and that might begin the process of making us all
sound more relevant to your situation.

Comradely regards


At 11:25  29/11/99 +0000, you wrote:

>Dear friends
>I come after one week to find many mails - I did not count.  It was like
>meeting a monkey with much sewa - a sort of beer.  After 10 or so, monkey
>begins to reminisce to forget his today problems.  You people have so much
>time for sitting and drinking and chattering.  It is not important.
>This time of year is usually for harvesting, but there is almost none, and
>¼ million people are refugees from the border war with Eritrea.  Most of
>Africa has same kinds of problems, but you debate Adorno and Frankfurt
>school.  I am afraid that I am losing the meaning.  I heard a joke
>yesterday about how many angels infest a pinhead.  You can debate
>that!  It will be interesting.
>The Word Trade conference in USA should be on your agenda.  What has
>happened?  Was it closed by Amazon indians?  Many here would like to see
>the speakers in Addis, or better Wollo.  They would shut them!
>Anyway, our special 'ball-cutter' Mengistu, died of drink recently.  In
>his time we read much of what you are saying.  Did you think he was a
>Marxist or a socialist?  If you did then I shall leave this e-mail
>work.  If you see him as a Saddam, then you must explain.  You probably
>never heard of Meles Zenawi or Issayas Afeworki, but they spoke as some of
>you do before the Woyane and Shaabia  (EPRDM and EPLF) got rid of Mengistu
>and placed them in power.  Now they fight among themselves.  When one or
>the other wins, what then?  Meanwhile there is slaughtering.
>My best wishes
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